Saturday, June 14, 2014

Iraqi Oil, US foreign policy disasters and the Iraq Civil War

The lion's share of Iraq's oil is in Shiite controlled central and southern Iraq and Kurd controlled northern Iraq.  Whoever controls Iraqi oil controls the wealth of the nation. When the US deposed and executed Sunni Saddam Hussein, and imposed a democracy, power shifted from Sunni minority control of Iraq and its oil to the 60-70% Shiite majority who won elections.  Iraq's natural ally is Shiite Iran with a 90% plus Shiite population.  In the middle east control of oil is everything.

With Iraq busting into a 3 way Shiite-Sunni-Kurd civil war, some interesting things are happening besides the obvious - Iraq is Barack Obama's problem from hell.

The Sunni uprising is driven by radical and murderous Sunni Salafist Wahhabists (Al Qaeda and other Sunni Islamist groups) with the backing of Wahhabist Saudi Arabia, a longtime US alley despite being the global kingpin of Islamist terror.  The US is faced an epic nightmare - support the same Al Qaeda and radical Sunni Islamists that birthed the idiotic US War on Terror or ally with Iran, a nation the US has vowed to destroy one way or another.

The geopolitical consequences of the situation in Iraq are hugely significant.  Oil prices are already soaring, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have become displaced and thousands of Iraqis have been beheaded by Sunni murderers.

There is no way that Iran won't step in to defend the Iraqi Shiites and their oil, much of which is very close to the Iranian border (see the above map).

To further complicate the already volatile situation, the Kurds have not only seized a major oil city in the north, they are loading the oil into tankers and fully intend to sell it in the open market, thus bypassing Baghdad. follows oil and geopolitics and is an incredibly knowledgeable and astute observer.

What Do Ukrainian Energy and Kurdish Oil Have in Common?
As the second tanker of Iraqi Kurdish oil leaves the Turkish port of Ceyhan bound for sale on international markets, Baghdad is furious and Washington is fearful of the implications for Iraq.....

Washington has dual concerns right now: Russia’s aggressive energy policy in Europe most recently actuated with the annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula; and Iran’s growing influence in oil-rich central and southern Iraq, which Iraqi Kurdish oil could push over the edge.

This is what’s got Washington in a tither: The Kurdistan region of Iraq is moving towards independence, not so subtly, by exporting oil directly to Turkey, bypassing the Iraqi central authorities in Baghdad. If this leads to a conflict inside Iraq, it could push the Shi’ite-dominated central and southern Iraq—where the real oil is—closer to Iran, which is already wielding a great deal of influence. Losing Iraq to Iran definitively would be a major blow to Washington’s existing Iran policy, and to its hold on Iraqi oil.

Adding to fears is the spillover from Syria, which culminated on 10 June in Sunni insurgents seizing control of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city which also sits in the “disputed territories” dividing Iraq from Iraqi Kurdistan.

In the meantime, some 2 million barrels of Kurdish crude are now seaborne.
Meanwhile, Al Jazeera, a Sunni controlled Arab media giant, is attempting to rationalize the situation in Iraq, especially as it pertains to US foreign policy and Obama.  That the entire middle east region is profoundly jittery is an understatement as the Sunni world is demanding that Obama DO SOMETHING while the Shiite Iraqi government in Baghdad is asking Obama to intervene on behalf of the Shiites to stop the Sunni slaughter.  Baghdad of course is not happy with the Kurds but given the extreme violence of the ISIL Sunni insurgency (the ISIL is an radical Sunni Salafist Wahabbist group like Al Qaeda), the Kurds are the least of Baghdad's problems.

Kurds take oil-rich Kirkuk amid advance of ISIL insurgency in Iraq Al Jazeera
Iraqi Kurds seized control of the northern oil city of Kirkuk on Thursday as Sunni insurgents threatened to advance on Baghdad — two developments that further indicate that the central government has now lost large swathsof a country spiraling deeper into chaos and internecine violence.

Kurds have long dreamed of taking Kirkuk, a city with huge oil reserves just outside their autonomous region, which they regard as their historical capital. The swift move by their highly organized security forces demonstrates how this week's sudden advance by the armed group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has redrawn Iraq's map.

An Obama administration official said the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki last month secretly asked Washington to consider carrying out strikes against ISIL positions, but the White House rebuffed the request, The New York Times reported.

"I don’t rule out anything because we do have a stake in making sure that these jihadists are not getting a permanent foothold in either Iraq or Syria," Obama said Thursday at the White House when asked whether he was contemplating air strikes. Officials later stressed that ground troops would not be sent in.

Obama said he was looking at "all options" to help Iraq's leaders. "In our consultations with the Iraqis, there will be some short-term immediate things that need to be done militarily," he said.
Despite the fact that the ISIL appears to have achieved control of significant real estate, including the Kurdish city of Mosel in northern Iraq, the ISIL has yet to takeover any prized oil fields. However, Al Jazeera is reporting that the ISIL, which it considers an Al Qaeda splinter group, absolutely plans to seize the oil city of Kirkuk, here.

And that would be Obama's worst nightmare.  The US foreign policy choice is to ally with the ISIL Sunni Salafist Al Qaeda splinter group or ally with Iran to squash the Sunni insurgency.  While Saddam Hussein gassed the Kurds and Turkey (borders northern Iraq) has a long history of brutalizing its Kurds, Iran also has significant Kurdish populations and has managed to keep the peace with the Kurds. The ISIL is probably targeting Kurkuk to test Iran who really doesn't want to be involved in a war with the Kurds.  The last thing Iran wants is to be goaded into a war that would give the US an excuse to attack Iran.

The situation is dire and there are no easy or painless solutions. The US invasion and occupation of Iraq unleashed a 3 way civil war, destabilized a once very stable nation, destroyed the Iraq economy, intensified the Sunni-Shiite rift and killed hundreds of thousand (millions according to some estimates) of Iraqis.  For what?  Ask the families of the 4,489 US soldiers who died in Iraq and the 32,0000 who were wounded, here.

Meanwhile, Obama is saying that he won't send troops back to Iraq but he is considering other options including air support (bombings).  But who in the hell is Obama going to bomb? The Kurds, the Sunnis, the Shiites?

In Syria, the ISIL continues to murder, butcher and terrorize Syrians, here. The US is so determined to get rid of Assad, who did nothing to the US, that it is supporting, arming and funding Sunni Salafist Wahhabist terror groups in Syria.  In fact, the entire Benghazi fiasco was nothing but a CIA operation that funneled arms to Syrian terror groups.

My Two Cents on Benghazi

Lies, Lies and More Lies: Benghazi is pure political theater as well as a cover-up.

Stone Cold Reality Check:  The US is governed by an elected crime syndicate consisting of banksters and the military industrial complex who OWN congress and the executive branch, and they constitute the biggest terrorist threat on the planet.

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